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Kerr Barging Blogs

We have spent a fair bit of time cruising in the South Pacific aboard our 33 years young 11.1metre yacht, Pastime of Sydney. We are now cruising through the canals and rivers of France on our old barge, "Anja", which was built in the North of the Netherlands in 1903. Anja was 110 years old in May 2013 and we celebrated with good French Champagne- but the boat did not get any! In 2014, for Anja's 111th, we took her back to where she was built in the North of the Netherlands.

A quick preparation

Hello everyone,

We have been very busy until now, so BLOGs are a little behind. We have only been in France 11 days but it feels more like 20 days!

We had an uneventful flight on Singapore Airlines. However, the flight was slow due to very strong headwinds. As a result, David had to run part of the way from Gare de Lyon to Gare de Bercy so as to buy the train tickets in time. Penny arrived as the tickets came out of the machine and we then had two minutes to get settled on the train to Joigny where our rental car awaited. This train was perfectly on time but we had forgotten how long it would take to run 2.2Km to the rental agency (10 minutes was not enough). David suffered tight muscles for several days afterwards.

The manager of the adjoining Renault sales agency was very kind and helpful- he drove David back to the station, picked up Penny and the baqs and then drove us back and stored the bags in his office. He also told us where to find a pleasant, warm and cheap restaurant for lunch.

We purchased our tax stamps (France still uses these fairly quaint objects) and picked up our Titres de Sejour (visas) from the Prefecture. This went very smoothly. Then it was time to check in at Les Chouettes with our good friends Chantal and Christian. It was good to see them again and they were very warm and welcoming as was Vauban the dog who is now feeling the effects of arthritis. We had a wonderful dinner and caught up on the news from each others' families. Chantal served us farcis champignon and wild boar (provided by their son-in-law who is a hunter) with chestnuts plus a variety of other special dishes, cheeses and wines.

Chantal has made her kitchen very modern with a ceiling mounted display screen to show the recipes rather than the 100 or so hard copy recipe books. There is plenty of work for Christian to digitise the traditional recipe books.

There were 28 items on the ANJA "to-do" list and this year, we only had six days rather than our more normal 10-14. Fortunately, the boat yard had done its work (replacing two windows and re-tarring the hull) before our arrival. Our work involved re-varnishing the floor, epoxying the shower recess  (which we repaired last year in the Netherlands due to cracks) with a new surface finish and also adding a new coat of clear epoxy to the kitchen sink to keep it shiny and new. There were also other routine works such as changing the transmission oil and engine filters.

IMG 20150405 131747Broken mounting

One more difficult task was jacking up the engine and removing/welding/replacing a broken engine mount. Christian very kindly lent us a variety of jacks and stands to make this possible. The engine mount (shown here) was welded in 2011 but broke in the same place. So this time, we have strengthened it with transverse fillets of steel. Simon from Evans Marine kindly lent us some large spanners to undo big nuts. Since then, we have purchased our own in case we have problems again, but this is unlikely.

Chantal kindly gave us a "care package" of delicious cakes and patisseries each day and fresh eggs to start us on our 2015 travels.We actually finished our tasks early and were able to become tourists for a day. For some years, we had wanted to visit a Chateau Fort called Guedelon and finally made it (more in the next blog).IMG 20150408 155137Into the river- the crane is at its limits

Simon craned us into the water last Thursday and this went well. Penny always goes for a walk during this activity as the sight of our large barge swinging in the air is nerve-wracking for her.

Best Regards,
Dave and Penny

IMG 20150414 082014The shower base is now shiny white

Soon back to France!

In less than a week we will be off again to France for 2015 barging adventures.

This year, we are revisiting some of the places travelled in 2010 and 2011. There are always places we have not seen or places that need revisiting.

We will be going on the Burgundy (Bourgogne) and Nivernais canals initially.

Best Regards,
Dave & Penny